It takes religion to make good people do bad things.

I have an Aunt who I love dearly and who is one of the most kind, caring people I have ever met. She does not have much money, but she gives to charity and loves animals, and has spent a huge amount of her time and energy caring for those that need her. She suffers more emotionally from seeing others' pain than almost anybody else I've ever known. She has cried over cruelty and injustice that she can do nothing about.

She believes in "god", I'm not really sure if it's as a being, or maybe just a vague force or something, or what. Her pronouncements have always seemed so silly and benign ("we are all god, god is in all of us, etc"), and she is so sweet and defenseless herself, I would never argue with her the way I do other theists--I just nod and smile, "yes, that could be, who knows", etc.

However: recently, when asked why "god" allows the suffering of innocent babies, she declared that they are being punished for bad things that they have done in previous lives. Little sick or starving or neglected or abused babies--they deserve it! They are getting what is coming to them!

I was (am) absolutely horrified. To me that shows that no degree of superstition is "safe". If that person that I know as my loving, kind aunt has managed to convince herself that it's right for babies to be horribly punished due to some made-up story about reincarnation, religion's power to do bad is limitless.

I remember a long time ago, when I was a kid, questioning her about reincarnation: I asked her how there were enough souls to go around, when there are more and more people being born all the time? She sighed, and said, "Let me tell you about a place called Atlantis." Of course I thought that was hilarious at the time. Little did I know what religion makes even the most beautiful person capable of.

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Comment by Moonbeam on March 14, 2009 at 4:57pm

The Mormon story is pretty funny too. Lots of celestial sex. What Mormon Theology is Really All About.
Comment by Jim DePaulo on March 14, 2009 at 4:34pm
The Scientologist are into the reincarnation fantasy trip as well. L. Ron Hubbard proclaim that he was the reincarnation of Cecil Rhodes, the colonial tyrant of the country once blessed with his name, Rhodesia. Of course that's pretty tame compared with the unbelievable, bad science fiction, bullshit they spew.
Comment by Moonbeam on March 3, 2009 at 6:34pm
Let's see...I think the Atlantans (Atlantians?) had a wonderful society, but destroyed themselves somehow, and their souls are continuing to be born amongst us. Or maybe we are all ex-Atlantans. It's Edgar Cayce stuff.
Comment by Buffy on March 3, 2009 at 4:12pm
Why can't people just come out and say "I have no explanation for that" rather than making up hideous nonsense to justify "god" allowing cruelty and injustice? Gah!
Comment by Sean on March 3, 2009 at 8:03am
I want to hear the rest of her story about atlantis.



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